Bud Caulfield will not seek reelection to Lowell City Council

Above: Bud Caulfield’s first day as a Lowell City Councilor. Front row from left: Tarsy Poulios, Dick Howe Sr, Brian Martin. Back row from left: Joe Fitzpatrick, Gerry Durkin, Brendan Fleming, Curtis LeMay, Bud Caulfield, Bob Kennedy.

Congratulations and thank you to Bud Caulfield for his long and dedicated tenure on the Lowell City Council. Caulfield announced today that he would not seek reelection to what would be his thirteenth two-year term on the council.

Bud first won a seat on the council in 1987, a tumultuous year that saw three incumbents defeated and five new comers join the council. Joining Caulfield as new councilors that year were Tarsy Poulios who finished 3rd, Joe Fitzpatrick who finished 4th, Gerry Durkin who finished 7th and Curtis LeMay who finished 8th (Bud was 5th). Incumbents returned to the council were Dick Howe Sr (1st), Brian Martin (2), Bob Kennedy (6) and Brendan Fleming (9). Losing seats were incumbents Kathy Kelley, Ed Kennedy and Gus Coutu. Incumbents Armand LeMay and Dick O’Malley did not seek reelection that year.

While the reasons for such a major change in the city council are always complex, the following excerpts give a sense of what was going on in the city at the time:

In the [past] nine months . . . Lowell has again been transformed, this time from a prosperous renaissance city to a divided community shaken by rumors, recriminations, and resignations — much of them fostered by widely reported federal and Middlesex County investigations probing political corruption and organized crime in the city.
“First boom, then bust? ” by Mark Jurkowitz, Boston Phoenix, February 24, 1987

The campaign, which begins in earnest this weekend, is the first in many years with negative overtones, and the Oct 6 preliminary election may begin a new era in Lowell politics . . . The council campaign comes on the heels of major federal and county investigations, the departure of Joseph Tully as city manager and a general air of tension among elected officials.
The Column, Lowell Sunday Sun, Sept 6, 1987

Bud always ran strong, finishing third in 1989, second in 1991, seventh in 1993 (an election that saw six new councilors and only three incumbents reelected), and second in 1995. It was in that year, that Bud was elected major, the first of two times he held that office.

Lowell’s new mayor, Edward Charles “Bud” Caulfield, 57, proves that despite the legendary rough-and-tumble image of Mill City politics, there is always room for a nice guy. . . For Caulfield, recognized mainly as a “streets and sidewalks” kind of councilor, becoming mayor Tuesday was a crowning achievement that he coveted but did not dare anticipate. “Somebody had better pinch me,” Caulfield, half-joking, said as he accepted the handshakes of well-wishers in the mayor’s reception room at City Hall after the vote.
Lowell Sun, January 7, 1996

After his mayoralty, Bud finished second in 1997, fourth in 1999, third in 2001, fourth in 2003, second in 2007, and second in 2009. There’s no doubt that he would have won a seat on the council in 2011 had he chosen to run.

3 Responses to Bud Caulfield will not seek reelection to Lowell City Council

  1. Paul Belley says:

    Councilor Caulfield’s speech before the Council was moving and as my wife said sad.
    Here is a man that devoted 24yrs of public service to the city of Lowell. He wore his heart on his sleeve and loved the city he lived in. Old school politic’s at it’s best, always a call back or a visit. Would show up at a wake or any event. He really cared. They don’t make them like that anymore….Thanks Bud

  2. Marie says:

    This photo brings back a lot of memories. Lots of political history, diversity of perspective and experience and some great stories with this “Class of 1987” city council. Spoke just yesterday with Brendan Fleming as we were leaving the Owl Diner. He looked good “taking one day at a time.” Dick – He’d just been listening to you on your regular Tuesday noontime gig on WCAP.
    Bud’s retirement is truly the end of a political era. Thanks Bud for a good run and great service to your constituents!

  3. PaulM says:

    During the last election, I wrote a few posts called “Marcel’s Rules, ” which summed up some of my late father’s political observations and wisdom. One of his rules is “Everyone should take a turn.” Councilor Bud Caulfield deserves our thanks and for stepping up and taking his turn in political ofice. He ran. He served. He contributed. He was elected mayor twice. Let us not forget his cultural contribution to the community through the Highland Players, a group that nurtured the talent of the late Grady Mulligan, Scott Grimes, and others. In a city that raises high the arts flag, it means something special to have a public official with a passion for music and singing. Mayor Caulfield represented Lowell at the opening of a huge museum exhibition about Jack Kerouac in Italy. He came back and told us about the enormous banner with the word “Kerouac” stretching across the main street in Milan. I recall that he advocated for a first-class renovation of the auditorium and stage at Lowell High School and adequate funding for the band. Best wishes to Councilor Caulfield.